Chapter 16 – Free in Christ
Perhaps you picked up this book out of a desire to obtain victory over a specific addiction or besetting sin. If so, it seems fitting to end this book by seeking to widen your hope of the victory and freedom that you can experience in Christ. Perhaps it has seemed almost too good to be true, as you have considered the promise that Christ can deliver you from any sin or addiction. There is no giant, no walled city, no stronghold, that cannot be overcome in Christ. These statements are true, but I would urge you to consider something even greater than this precious truth. Not only can Christ deliver you from ANY sin, He can deliver you from ALL sin.
The level of Christian experience has sunk very low in these days due to the wayward heart of mankind. Many who confess Christ love pleasure more than they love God. There has been little pressing in to know how mankind might satisfy Yahweh’s desire, as men and women have been more focused on satisfying their own desires.
Few Christians in this hour are able to receive the report that there is a place in Christ where we can rise above all the bonds of this sinful world. We can be filled with the fulness of Christ. His life can be our life. His thoughts can be our thoughts. We can become fully motivated, and completely animated, by the divine life within our members. Our daily walk can be one of unbroken fellowship, and our experience can be one of endless righteousness through the power and presence of the One who dwells in us.
This testimony is hidden from the majority of men and women today, yet the Spirit bears witness of its truth. So too do the many parables of Scripture, as well as the plain speech of the apostles. Yet that which is declared in many ways and in many places has been obscured by the veil that lies over the eyes of men and women who are divided in their affections. Consider once more the parable of Israel’s release from captivity in Egypt and her entry into the land of promise.
How much authority did Egypt and Pharaoh retain over Israel after they crossed the Red Sea? Crossing through a body of water is symbolic of passing through death into a new life. What is symbolized in crossing the Red Sea is the complete death to all that had formerly kept Israel enslaved. We find this truth in the following words:
Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of Yahweh which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.”
“See the salvation of Yahweh!” It is a complete salvation. Egypt maintained no hold over Israel. The power of Pharaoh was completely broken as the great army of Egypt perished in the sea.
The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.
The testimony of Scripture is that the substance of our salvation in Christ is just as complete as the shadow seen in the Israelites’ salvation from Egypt. There was no reason for any who came out of Egypt to ever return to bondage there. The Israelites’ freedom was complete. Their freedom was as certain as if they had passed from one life, through death, and into another existence. This too is the experience of all those who have been united with Christ through baptism. We have been buried with Him, and we have been resurrected to a new life of freedom.
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Crossing the Red Sea symbolizes how completely the Christian has been severed from the old slavery to sin that formerly held them bound. Crossing the Jordan River under the leadership of Joshua signifies the power we have to conquer all enemies in our flesh.
“Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours… No man will be able to stand before you…”
Notice the scope of the words in these verses, and consider what they portend for the Christian today. “EVERY” place the Christian sets his foot will be theirs to possess. “NO” enemy will be able to stand before the one who has faith. Even as our deliverance from bondage is a full deliverance, so too our victory over every sin and enemy of God is boundless.
Christ has not merely given you and I victory over addiction, He has given us an entirely new life. We are new creatures with new appetites, and new minds. The extent to which you and I walk as these new creatures is limited only by our own desire and belief. As the apostle Paul declared to the church in Corinth:
II Corinthians 6:12
You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.
Christ has set the captives free, but the degree to which you or I live in freedom is determined by us. You can choose to live the rest of your life for the pleasure of God. You can give yourself fully over to Christ that He might manifest Himself in you, bringing all your thoughts, words, and actions under His control.
II Corinthians 5:14-15
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
All has been provided for the child of God to enable them to live a life immersed in the life of Christ. We need not sin. We can always choose to live for the pleasure of God. His Spirit in us will fill us with His desires, and empower us to carry them out. We must cast off the low thinking that grips the church today, for many Christians believe themselves still to be slaves to sin. The church believes it is more natural for them to sin than to practice righteousness. Consequently, they live out what they believe. Yet the testimony of Scripture is that Christians have died to sin and are alive to God.
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Yahshua.
“Consider yourselves to be dead to sin.” How easy it is to pass over these words without comprehension. As a Christian I am dead to sin. It has no hold over me. I am completely free of its authority. The dominion of sin has been shattered. I am now alive to God in Christ. I am a partaker of the divine life. The same Spirit that is in Christ is also in me. It is God’s pleasure that I am alive to. It is His desires that I seek. I am no longer bound to low, fleshly living. I am no longer obligated to fulfill the desires and passions of the flesh. I am free! I am the Lord’s!
If we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
It is with some difficulty that we lay aside our slave mentality, for we come from a long line of slaves. Our ancestors have been enslaved to sin for the past 6,000 years, all the way back to Adam. The mind staggers to realize the freedom that has been given to us in Christ. Can it really be true? Is it really no longer inevitable that I will commit sin? Can I truly walk in righteousness?
Perhaps the most profound expression of the Christian’s new life is found in the words of Paul.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”
What a depth of transformation is revealed here! “It is no longer I who live.” The old sinful creature I once was is no longer alive. When Christ died on the cross, I died with Him. When He arose from the grave I was resurrected to new life in Him. Now “Christ lives in me.”
How do we enter into such a life? How can this confession become our own? We enter in as we believe the testimony of Christ.
Yahshua was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free… So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
To continue in Christ’s word is to rest upon it as truth. The second part of Galatians 2:20 reveals Paul’s confession of this.
The life which I now live in the flesh I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
What Paul is testifying is that his life is completely different now that he has been born of the Spirit of Christ. He lives his life through a daily reckoning upon the presence of Christ in Him. He surrenders to the life of Christ in his being, and as he does so the life of Christ is manifested. The divine life of God is revealed in, and through, Paul. This can also be your experience, and mine.
Such an understanding goes far beyond hoping that we might be able to overcome a specific, troubling addiction. It is to embrace the knowledge that God’s Spirit is present in us to enable us to walk as a mature reflection of Himself through the course of this world. God has testified that He is at work in us to conform us to the image of Christ, and Christ said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” It is not heresy then to believe that God desires this same confession to be the normal result of His powerful working in our lives.
From the beginning God said, “Let us create man in our image, and after our likeness.” Christ was the first man to attain to this end that God had in mind. He is not the last, however.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren…
Satan would tell the Christian that it is not possible to walk as Christ did in this world. He would declare to us that we cannot walk in victory over all sin, that such a state is only possible when we leave this world and ascend to heaven. The Scriptures reveal that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies. He has lost his authority over our lives, but he knows he can still keep many from walking in the power of the Spirit by deceiving them. If you do not believe you are free from your chains, you will live as if you are still bound, though the chains lie broken beside you.
You will never rise higher than your faith to believe. Feed your spirit. Abide in Christ. Live in His word, and be transformed as you renew your mind. Your victory is assured if only you will believe.
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